China's forestry authority issued a warning about the threat of invasive insects from abroad. The government is also preparing countermeasures.
A Chinese government agency said on March 2 that China had raised the alert in case grasshoppers have destroyed agricultural land in Pakistan, India and East Africa across the border.
" Although experts consider the risk of insect infiltration and domestic pests to be relatively low, (China) will have difficulty monitoring grasshoppers due to the lack of surveillance technology and little ants. aware of their migration practices , "the National Forest Administration said on its website.
Beijing has set up a task force to monitor, control and, if possible, prevent "insect invasions". The government also plans to hold a meeting of experts this month to discuss and coordinate countermeasures nationwide, including an emergency warning system.
Grasshoppers have devastated crops in Pakistan, India and Africa.Beijing has perceived its threat to China.(Photo: Reuters)
Although the Chinese government declared the threat of grasshoppers to be insignificant, the warnings have been intensified since mid-February when the Ministry of Agriculture decided to monitor the locust migration and research. ways to stop them.
Chinese agriculture went through a gloomy year in 2019 when it was continually attacked by the autumn acacia worm spreading across one million hectares of farmland, and African swine cholera reduced the herd by half with 440. million destroyed.
A locust "pandemic" could drag the struggling economy against China's corona virus even further. More than 80,000 people have been infected with the virus with 2,900 deaths, paralyzing many key industries in the country.
According to Statista, a German consumer and market data company, in 2018 agriculture contributed about 7.2% of China's total GDP.
Desert grasshoppers are one of the most devastating and destructive insects in the world. According to the United Nations, a herd area of one square kilometer can consume the amount of food in a day equivalent to the food of 35,000 people.
In late January, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization called for international efforts to cope with the largest desert grasshopper outbreak in decades.
The herds of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are large in size and have unprecedented potential for destruction. The largest monsoon rains in 25 years in India and Pakistan last summer created conditions for thriving vegetation, which means more food for insects.
The United Nations warns they could cause a crisis in world food security.
Desert grasshopper.(Photo: Reuters)
Beijing said that under appropriate climates, locusts could migrate to China along the path from Pakistan and India, through Tibet, then into the southwest of Yunnan province. Another route is through Kazakhstan into the western Xinjiang autonomous region.
In February, Zhang Zehua, a researcher at the Plant Protection Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told the Xinhua News Agency that the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Northern China can act as a shield against locusts.
"It is very unlikely that desert grasshoppers will migrate directly to mainland China, but if the desert grasshopper epidemic abroad remains long, the probability that the grasshoppers will invade China in June or May. 7 will increase sharply, " said Zhang.
Last month, the Ministry of Agriculture said that grasshoppers are most active when temperatures reach around 40 degrees Celsius and humidity is around 60-70%, which means that they will be difficult to survive in Southern Tibet.